Road trip to the land of temples – VIII – Kodaikanal sightseeing – Cloud, cloud go away !

Winnie the Pooh would have said that if he had come with us on Day 2 of our trip to Kodaikanal ! We had some sightseeing plans but it all turned out to be one of those days when Murphy’s Law came true (funny how it seems to work when we travel !)

It’s a fresh new day !

They say a positive feel is a must when you wake up early in the morning, when you wake up to scenes like this even before you get off the bed, you don’t need any other motivation !

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Though we couldn’t catch the sunrise because the clouds had covered up the sky, it was lovely to watch the valley light up slowly !

We went for a walk around the resort. It was quite cold outside but the freshness of the morning was the perfect tonic to boost up our spirits. Sterling resorts has some nice gardens with pretty flowers along the pathway which offer you great views of the valley. How would you like sitting here and sipping a cup of hot coffee?

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After an hour of strolling, we went back to get ready for our sightseeing trip but we just couldn’t take our eyes off the window, never getting bored of the view !

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Forcing ourselves not to delay any further, we went down to the restaurant for breakfast. The buffet breakfast that the resort serves is as good as it can get.

Kurinji Andavar temple

As you drive through Kodaikanal, the old world charm of the place appeals to you, in fact, most hill stations seem to retain that charm.

The first “to visit” place on our list was the Kurinji Andavar temple, a small temple dedicated to Lord Muruga. The temple overlooks the valley, it has a nice view of the Kodaikanal town also. However, we felt the view from our rooms was best view one could find in the whole of Kodaikanal !

We couldn’t take pictures of the temple because though photography is not explicitly prohibited inside the temple, we wanted to respect the tradition of not taking photographs inside temples.

The elusive Pillar Rocks !

Of all the places in Kodaikanal, we were keen on visiting the Pillar Rocks. These two rock formations look like gigantic pillars, according to Wikipedia, the rocks are 400 feet high. We had seen pictures on the internet and felt the view would awesome.

The drive to Pillar Rocks is very scenic.

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You pass by the Kodaikanal Golf Course and other places of tourist interest like the Green Valley View also called the Suicide Point !

As we parked our car near Pillar Rocks, the scene in front of us looked straight from Avatar film. From behind a thick cloud cover, we could see the blurred out Pillar Rocks and boy, what a sight it was ! We couldn’t see the rocks completely but a glimpse of those massive, colossal formation that it simply took our breath away !

We were just parking our car and we didn’t get a chance to click pictures. Pillar Rocks can be view from a park built on a cliff. The rocks are on the opposite cliff. The entrance to the park is Rs.5/- per head. By the time we reached the park, clouds had completely taken over the place !

Here is our contest, spot the Pillar Rocks behind the cloud cover !!

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It was huge disappointment but we were positive the clouds would clear. We waited for half an hour, as one cloud cover after an other came and went, our hopes were raised and dashed. Except that we could not see the rocks, it was beautiful out there, the chillness was refreshing !

After half an hour it got worse, this time, we couldn’t even see the tree !

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We did not want to waste more time and decided to visit other places and come back after some time. We checked nearby places, Fairy Falls seemed close by. It turned out to be a bigger fiasco because there was not a drop of water in the falls ! Murphy’s Law proven right one more time !

Kodaikanal Wax Museum

To salvage the situation, we decided to visit the Wax Museum that we spotted while driving to Pillar Rocks. The Museum has the usual wax statues of famous people, religious leaders, tribal way of life and so on. The entrance fee is around Rs.10/-. The statues were not so great looking, this statue of Gandhi was probably the best of all. Sankaracharya beside him didn’t look too convincing !

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One of the rooms has a scene from DaVinci’s “The Last Supper”, we tried to look for the mysterious hand pointed out in the novel “The DaVinci’s Code”, we don’t remember finding it though !

Another interesting part is this music band one.

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Lit up with interchanging neon colors, this scene from a music concert is interactive. You can go right in and play the drums along with the statues !! They charge Rs.30/- per person, not exactly worth the money but you can just have some fun and play around with the instruments.

There is also a scene from Lord Krishna’s Rasleela but the statue of Lord Krishna cuts a very sorry figure !

The Wax Museum is not a must visit but you could still stop by to have a look if you have time on hand, if not anything else, it will give you a few laughs.

Pillar Rocks or cloud rocks?

It was an hour since we our visit to the Pillar Rocks and so we decided to try our luck once again, hoping that the clouds would have cleared. We got our answer even before we reached the place !

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The clouds had not only engulfed the rocks and park but they had invaded the road too ! It was around noon time when we took this picture and visibility was close to zero !

This time, there was no disappointment because it had become a joke ! To brighten up our cloudy mood, we bought some fresh carrots in the shops near the park only to have them grabbed by monkeys ! Yes, there are monkeys here too and they don’t disturb you unless they find you carrying carrots or eatables !

We parked our car by the roadside and breathed in the fresh air, at times, we could almost feel the water droplets on our faces as the clouds came upon us, we walked along the road and a little further into the woods, enjoying the biting cold ! With the clouds filling up the woods, it did look a little eerie. Is this what they call haunting beauty?

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We may have missed the actual purpose of the visit but the experience of walking in the clouds is an experience for a life time !

Having said that, we still didn’t want to go back without seeing the Pillar Rocks. We pleaded with the clouds that we loved them but we wanted to see the Pillar Rocks too but the clouds seemed to have become rocks themselves and refused to budge.

Shopping at Green Valley View

Finally, we had to accept defeat before the clouds and decided to head back. Technically, out of the places on our list, we had only visited the Kurinji Andavar Temple, the Wax Museum an add on. While driving back, we wanted to check out the shopping market near the Green Valley View point. hardly 1 km from Pillar Rocks. We didn’t got the view point because there was no way we could view anything with all the clouds. Shopping seemed a better idea.

The shopping area is lot of fun. It stretches to almost half a kilometer with shops on either side.

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These shops sell almost everything under the sun but the must buys:

1. Homemade Chocolates, every other shop in Kodaikanal sells them and they are a chocolate lover’s delight.

2. Handmade soaps, these are made from various herbs and natural extracts but slightly expensive costing around Rs.60/- to Rs.80/- but since it is once in a while, you should buy them. Take a shower and smell like a herb or a fruit !

3. Spices and dry fruits, they seem to come at a reasonable price.

4. Chocolate flavoured tea, seemed quite popular here but we didn’t buy it because it is not available in quantities lesser than 1/2 kg.

It was past lunch time when we stepped out of the market. The weather seemed to clear up a bit but we didn’t want to take a chance by going back to the Pillar Rocks again.

We drove back to the main town area, stopped for lunch at Rice and Spice restaurant, the food was just about decent. Post lunch, we thought we’d check out the Bear Shola Falls but we were told we had to trek for almost 2 kms from a certain point. With two kids in tow and already tired after all the shopping, we weren’t sure if we wanted to do the trek and moved on.

Kodaikanal Lake

The next best bet was the Kodaikanal Lake, the most popular place in Kodaikanal. This picturesque lake surrounded by hills is the hub of activity. We heard Kodaikanal didn’t get enough rains this year, the lake seemed to tell the story, parts of it were almost dry but that did not take away the charm of the lake.

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The obvious thing to do at the lake is to go on a boat ride. There are two seater pedal boats that can be peddled by yourself. If there are more people, you can hire a boat with a helper who would do the rowing for you.

The entire road surrounding the lake is full of shops and eateries. You could go for walks along the road or hire a bicycle ride along the pathway. They even have those double bicycles, double the fun !

In our case, while one family took the boat ride, the other went for a walk around the lake. Both were throughly enjoyable, we suggest you do both ! The lake is a perfect place to spend a pleasant evening. There is also a park for kids nearby.

As tea time neared, we went for another round of shopping in the Anna Salai area and then headed back to the resort. We simply wanted to relax at the resort and leisurely stare at the valley view. No other place in Kodaikanal seemed to have such an enchanting view of the valley. We thought we were lucky to have found the monsoon offer, Sterling Resorts is usually on the luxury resort list otherwise. However, as we sat by our window and watched the sunset, we decided if we came to Kodaikanal again in the peak season, it would still be worth staying at Sterling Resorts for that view !

In the evening we went down to the activity area in the resort where you have indoor games including Carroms, Table Tennis, Chess and Snooker. Kids can have some fun with board games, Ludo, Snakes and Ladder. We ordered dinner in our rooms before drifting of to sleep with the kind of happy feeling that you get when you’ve enjoyed yourself during the day.

Did we visit any place properly? No, but we had such a great time and that’s all mattered for us !

Info tidbits

– Summer is the best time to visit hill stations, you wouldn’t have to face the cloud problems. However, do consider visiting in the monsoon season too, you get better deals and above all you get to touch the clouds !

– Don’t try to crowd your schedule trying to visit all the places. Though that temptation will be there, pick out a few places that interest you so that you get to spend a leisurely time at each of those places. At hill stations, it is all about relaxing.

– It is a great idea to hire bicycles and go around the town. You will find local transport too but we suggest, you walk as much as you can, that is the best way to get a “feel” of the place.

– For a trip to Kodaikanal for 2 people for 2 nights, you could budget anywhere between Rs.10,00/- to Rs.15,000/- depending on your luxury levels, including travel, accommodation, food and sightseeing. That is a rough estimate though.

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Categories: Tamil Nadu | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Road trip to the land of temples – VIII – Kodaikanal sightseeing – Cloud, cloud go away !

  1. garnishednonsense

    That photograph of the road to Pillar Rock is a masterpiece. Reminds me of our umpteen trips to Pillar Rock to see if the clouds had gone away as well.
    All in all, nice blog post !

    • HOW

      You’ve had similar experiences too? Looks like the cloud cover is a common occurrence and we are not alone 🙂 Thanks so much for liking our pictures and posts.

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